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Kid Testimonials

 

 

"Hello Mr. Melillo, I'm just writing out of sheer amazement and appreciation of your music. When my teacher introduced Godspeed to us for our NYSSMA Majors festival, I instantly fell in love. I am in awe of your ability to, not only compose a song such as Godspeed, but to construct an entire setup for the different instruments and various synthesizers. Godspeed is more than just a piece of music, but rather, it is an experience. Godspeed was the last piece in our program, which also meant that it was the last piece that we Wind Ensemble seniors would ever play together. It could not be any more fitting that our last song was titled 'Godspeed'. Godspeed has become the wind ensemble seniors' 'motto', and we have all begun to use it when wishing each other well. I came to your web page with the thought of contacting you, and after I saw your 'kindness' tab, I simply couldn't resist. I thank you for sharing your musical gift with others. Godspeed," Tina McAuliffe

 


"There are emotions that need no words. They Can not be explained, described, contained in a sentence, in a speech, in a book. Words are often noise. They are liars, empty, meaningless. Words can deceive, hide, they misunderstand situations and people.... The music speaks where they will never and ever reach. Millions of pages full of ink are nothing compared to the whole Music of Stephen Melillo, pure wonder." From the Ragazzi of Anbima

 


"Your compositions and your words will be forever our life's soundtrack." From the Ragazzi of Anbima

 


"Mr. Melillo, I was in the PMEA district 7 concert you guest hosted in February, and I just wanted to tell you, you, how much of an impact you created on me, those two days. It completely opened my eyes, to hundreds of music ideas the average musician has never had the chance to experience. Your compositions, were absolutely phenomenal, and I definitely consider you the world's best modern composer.  Your music that you have composed evoked so many feelings I never knew anything could produce, and I want to thank you, for the example you set, for the goals I now aim to reach, for the musical experience, and for the life lessons in general you taught everyone. Those two days were easily the most eye opening experience of my life, and after that weekend, I realised how much music does for us, and when people who don't know what music is, try to take it out of our schools; they need to listen to you, and what you brought forth in each individual person on the stage that night. Thank you for the amazing musical experience, I am positive you are the best conductor PMEA could possibly ever get, and I will continue, to remember everything you said and taught from that weekend through the rest of my life. Thank you very much," Hayden Johnson 2014

 


"In the concert, when we played all the pieces without breaks, the difference between your music and the other music we played was so huge. Your music and the other ones were really two different worlds. I would like to live in the world, in which your music would be playing!!!! I recognized, that you give all the people so much... with your music and with your personality. That is unbelievable. This, what you give them (and me!!!!) is such a big present... you can not imagine how big that is. And you do not want to have something back from them. You give, and give and do not want to take." Petra Buchmann, Germany

 


"Mr. Melillo, I first became acquainted with Stormworks during my freshman year in high school. While I am now a junior in college, that single work is the most memorable piece of music for wind ensemble I have ever heard. I have the Stormworks I CD, and virtually every track on it is incredible! For me, your music has lived well beyond the concert hall and CD player. It has become a literal soundtrack for life and living in general! I can't wait to hear Stormworks III and V! Thank you so much for sharing your vision and testament with the world." Kelsie Jackson Junior Music Major, Wayland Baptist University, Plainview, Texas

 


"Today I had a taste of the storm. I am a graduating senior of the class of 2000. Today was my last day in band. 6 years of hard work, long Saturdays, and summer camps. But in all my life, I have never heard a piece of music that absolutely touched my soul. Today we played the Ballad to Of Demons and the Knight, A Voice in the Wilderness. I was moved to tears by the immense emotion and rich chords. The song has been going through my head all afternoon, and I could never get tired of it. The music has such an ominous beauty to it! I regret that I will not have the honor of being part of the winds and percussion in motion this year since I'm graduating. Thank you so much for composing such a breathtaking piece. You have allowed me to find a part of me I thought I had lost, and provided me with inspiration. Please keep letting your soul sing. God has truly blessed you with an awesome talent." Ails Burns, 1st Chair Flute/Piccolo, Scottsburg, Indiana

 


"I received your STORMWorks, Chapter One CD. I had high expectations of your work after reading so many glowing testimonials on your web page, but every piece soared far, FAR beyond these expectations. All of it contains moments of intense excitement and drama contrasted with passages of serene, otherworldly beauty. I have a very large CD collection (over 50, I think), and it is divided into classical CD's and band CD's. I have put his CD-and will put all his others-in the "classical" section. Why? Because for too many people, "band music" means cheap, mass- produced pieces of little or no intellectual value. I put Stephen's CD's in the classical section because I will not have his work mistaken for part of the ever-growing throng of valueless band music. I have also put it in the classical section because I hope that 200 years from now, people will think of Stephen's music as "classical" the way we think of the music of Bach and Mozart now. I hope that they will think of his music as classical... because I do. For years, I have wanted to be a band composer. However, I lacked focus. I had a dream, but not direction. Now... Stephen's "giving" and "Music" are the torch that lights my path. One final thing: most "great" composers these days are locked firmly in the orchestral realm. We in the much-looked-down-upon band world are indescribably fortunate to have a mind like Stephen's here with us. Thank you, Stephen... for daring to face the Storm and giving us these works." Robert McDaniel, age 15

 



"Hi! My name is Janice Makinen and I am in 8th grade. My Wind Ensemble (Director; Jeff Fudale) is playing pieces from STORMQuest, and we love it!! I am the first chair french horn and the music is phenomenal! It gets our entire band excited and we look forward to playing it everyday. We'll be playing it at contest, and I know that the judges will be blown away. Your music is kind of like an escape from the entire other music world. Its like a whole different species of music, and I like a change like that. I really appreciate all the hard work that you put into these pieces. Please Write Back!" Janice Makinen, 1st Chair French Horn, Roehm Wind Ensemble, Berea, OH "Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it."  Confucius

 

"I know that you are likely busy with more E-mails than one could 'Shake a stick at' so to speak, so I'll make it brief. I merely wished to state that your pieces are a welcome refreshment from the casual ones with predictable lines and unexciting rhythm. So far we've played Stormquest, Revenge of the Darkseekers, and The Search for Truefire. Being the only Baritone Saxaphone within the band... it is difficult to be excited with the music, in that it is usually slow half note or quarter note harmonies that have little power behind them, little purpose. But I am happy to be able to say that I am proud to play a series of music that has a homish welcoming feel to all instruments, where each has an important message, and not just part of the chord. And each day I've tried harder. There's a concert Tuesday, I hope the audience enjoys The Search for Truefire as much as we have, with a great Alto Saxiphone solo and Flute solo, I doubt they can do little less than sit at the edge of their seat anticipating the next well crafted measure. Stephen Morgan, 8th Grader, Berea, OH


 


"I am truly amazed at the talent you have displayed in your compositions.  I had the pleasure of playing the harp part (on keyboard) for Festival of Light last fall. I was truly touched. My band director, Mr. Keith Dye, enjoys your pieces too, enough to purchase The First and The Last for us to perform this semester (spring 1999).  Again I have a keyboard part, which is always fun. I enjoy the varying rhythms, especially the odd meters, and the dissonance.  Your music unquestionably defines contemporary music.  May your talent continue to be a blessing to us all. Thanks." Beverly Hartzendorf Wicks, piano performance major, Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, Texas


 


"Hey Steve... May I call you Steve? You're music brings meaning into so many people's lives, including mine. Anyway, I just thought that I'd tell you how much your job means to us "common folk" Keep up the good work and like you've always said..."Godspeed" Thank you for the awesome music." Sincerely, Natalie Davis, 8th Grade, Roehm Middle School


 


"Hello Stephen! I'm Silje. You directed my previous school band in Norway, the Haukeroed Skolekorps. Remember? The greatest moment, and my best playing was when we played with you. I think your music is wonderful, and I have your CD of the Stormquest. I hope you will be writing music as long as you live! Best wishes from..." Silje Ringdal, Norway

 



"Dear Mr. Melillo, I was introduced to your works through my high school band director, Mr Mike Ouellette.  Every time we played STORMWORKS in band, overwhelming emotions came over me that I have never quite experienced before playing a composition.  I can not describe how your music truly has touched me, but know it has made me look at life with a ray of sunshine and hope.  One day I would like to make the kind of impact in this world that you have with your wonderful music. Thank you and God bless!" Jessica Alexander, SAM HOUSTON STATE UNIVERSITY, Music Therapy/Ed Major

 



"Dear Stephen -- I found the hardest challenge in performing your music is the emotional impact it has upon the individual performer. As a horn player in the the Georgia District 9 Honor Band, I experienced how deep your music can affect the human soul; Escape from Plato's Cave sent tears streaming down my face throughout the entire performance. Your music took hold of me and refused to let go. Not only did it touch my soul, but it brought me closer to all who took your journey with me. Our performance transcended all technical difficulties and took on a much more spiritual meaning. Your music enhanced my mind, my heart, and my faith. Thank you, and Godspeed to you as well." Andy Downing, University of N. Carolina at Greensboro

 



"I can honestly say that although I've always been a serious musician, I've NEVER put emotions into my playing until I played several of your pieces. Your music is so intense, so deep, so involved that it is actually "GIVING" emotion to everyone. It just seems to overwhelm the stage with tears, passion and courage. It can also take a person "WHERE BEAUTY HAS NO CHANCE" and make them cry! I know MANY of my friends who feel the same way. Godspeed." Gordon Strassberg, Tenor Sax, Nassau-Suffolk Concert Band, Long Island NY

 


"Dear Mr. M... You are the most awesomely profound conductor/composer/teacher/friend in the world. We have learned a lot from you, and we have become better players because of it. You have the most energy in a single being we have ever seen. We will always remember you in the 'Post-Steve-Period!' Good luck with everything you do. Hopefully, we will be able to work with you again." Matt Holman, Andrea Stanton, Adam Farley, Jaeci Prewitt, Amy Fleming, NWMSU Honorable Band! (8th & 9th Grade Band at Northwest Missouri Music Camp of Excellence)


 


"I was lucky enough to be able to play 3 pieces of music that Steve wrote. The three pieces were: Revenge of the DarkSeekers, Time in the Balance, and By Love Compelled. It was the most INTENSE music I have ever seen or played. It was at a one week camp and we only had three days to rehearse. Steve was also our Conductor and Teacher for that week. He and his music are the best things I've seen in music. They make playing and practicing it fun. If you have a chance ask you're own band conductor to look into this music. It is really some of the greatest music around. Talking to all of the kids that were in the same band as me, I NEVER heard one bad comment." Shane Griffin, TUBA player in a camp that Steve was there to conduct. (8th & 9th Grade Band at Northwest Missouri Music Camp of Excellence)

 



"Dear Mr. Melillo, I found out, to my amazement, that I made 4th chair clarinet in honor band. The next day I enjoyed your class and found out that you had a cool way of playing the concert B flat scale from the top down. For the next 4 days, I was constantly amazed at how much I was learning and having fun at the same time. Not only were you a great teacher, but I love your music and your styles of teaching. By the way, the 'Post-Steve Period' is going quite well. I was hoping you could read this yourself instead of a secretary reading it for you. Dr. Sergel assured me that you would. I don't believe I have ever heard such a beautiful song as By Love Compelled... In the Hour of Shadows. I know I wasn't the only one who got teary-eyed during it. To tell you the truth, I'm saddened when I hear it because I know it'll be a while before I have "that wonderful feeling" again. It's that feeling that you get when going from those dissonant whole notes to the beautiful chords, or when the flute plays the solo. The thing that actually makes it so magical is that I was there playing it and participating in it. Just hearing the chords changing and the melody singing in my head makes me smile, but I doubt I'll truly have "the feeling" again for a while. Words can't truly describe it, but I hope you know what I'm talking about. I'll always remember what you taught us all through the Post-Steve Period." Sincerely, Kristin Brown (8th & 9th Grade Band at Northwest Missouri Music Camp of Excellence)

 



"Dear Mr. Melillo, This is my testimony to your awesome compositions. Last week, I attended the All-South Honor Band at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. Ed Lisk was my clinician-conductor and told our band about this website. We played three movements from the Stormworks called Timestorm, Before the Storm, and Into the Storm! I was the first chair French horn player in this band and I cannot express to you in words how awesome I think your compositions are. While the Timestorm movement was tricky, I managed to bust out on the high B naturals. In Before the Storm, I played the solo horn part. When we read through the last movement, I could hardly stay in my chair!!! The last movement is probably the most exciting piece I have ever played. On this program we also played AMERICA THE BRAVE. On looking at it I thought "OH NO!! Not another dinky patriotic medley piece that uses only tonic, dominant, and subdominant chords." But as we played it, I realized there was much more to your music than just 1, 4, and 5 chords. You actually used some harmonic invention and creativity in that piece. If there are any band directors out there that are deciding whether or not to play this music, you should!!!!! I promise you and your band will love it! Thank you Mr. Melillo for writing such exciting and awesome music. I hope to play some of it in the future! Godspeed!!!!!!!! Sincerely," Gary Casity (a STORMfan) Tate High School Band

 


"Dear Mr. Melillo, I am a student in band, and play flute, at Grapevine High School. Recently my band director, Mr. Steve Andre, chose for my band to play the music Stormworks. I just wanted to let you know how much this music moves me. When I am playing it I can actually feel something. I have never had this happen with a piece of music before. I absolutely love your music, and I hope to play more of it in the future. Thank you so much! Sincerely," Stephanie Davis

 


"By the way I absolutely love Stormworks. That is perhaps the most fun that I have had while playing a piece.  Unlike most composers that put out several new works a year your music is not repetitive and all the same. I am so glad that someone out there does not fit the mold into the normal 90's composer. Thanks again for the wonderful music and hope you put out many more great works. Godspeed!!" Michael Bell, Timpanist, Jacksonville St. University

 


"I had the great privilege of being a member of the All-Star Band at Western Michigan University. We played Erich! The music was incredible to play. I am going into music education and can only hope that I can conduct with as much zest as you! I also had the pleasure of listening to the Western Band play David. That was a miraculous experience. I just returned from a two week music camp at Western Michigan. Under the direction of Dr. Spradling we performed Stormworks. When the music was passed out on the first day, many members of the band were excited to be playing one of your pieces. The only experience I had with your music was from the All-star Band, but I was very excited to be playing another of your pieces. It was so unbelievable. I am now a Freshman at Western, but I am trying to convince my high school band director to play some of your works. They are so exciting to play and it is a shame if any musician is not touched by your music." Virginia Platek, Western Michigan University

 


"My goal, as a trumpet player, is to live up to playing your music. I want to be conducted by you again. I would also like to take a moment to talk about your music. Your music helps me to live through each day. If I feel great and am excited about life, your music conveys that. If I am in need of hope and inspiration, your music definitely provides that. If I am toiling in the depths of uncertainty and self-doubt, your music gives me guidance. All I need each day is to hear those rich, satisfying chords that do $150 speakers justice. The most important thing your music does, though, is to inspire emotion - the only thing that makes us human. I don't just hear your music, I feel it. Thank you for being unselfish enough to share it with us." Craig French, Berea High School, Berea, Ohio

 


"Not only is the impact of Stephen Melillo's Music evident from the testimony of others, but the writer of this paper has been fortunate to experience it personally. His Music is unique, different than anything this writer has played in the past. Exactly what it is that makes this Music so unique is unclear, but it is obvious that it works. Melillo's Music, although very challenging, has a way of being addictive. Band members who normally don't take the time to put their all into the Music they play give Melillo's Music 110% of their effort. His Music has a way of reaching deep inside you and bringing out your true emotion. This adds a "real" dimension to the Music that cannot be obtained any other way.  Stephen Melillo's Music has not only impacted people, but sparked a twentieth century musical revolution. His use of quickly changing meters, unique harmonies, and deep emotion is a new dimension in Music today. This musical change has sparked a fresh new energy both in the performers of Melillo's works and in their audiences." Becky Emmet, Dallas High School, Oregon

 


"Stephen Melillo's Music is the most emotional Music I have ever heard, played, EXPERIENCED! You don't know what Music is until you have lived in STORMWorld. I have had the opportunity to meet him several times and he has come to work with our band twice. I love his Music because it's not just notes on a page. It's all the emotion and feeling he has and knows. We played "Escape from Plato's Cave" at our last band contest and had everyone in the audience breathless. We played Stormworks last year, and our two other ensembles played "Into the Light of Day and Under the Cover of Darkness" and a new commissioned piece from STORMQuest called, "Courage...at the Wall of Fire". His visits and compositions have awakened our hearts and minds. Thank you so much!" Regina Dure, La Porte High School, La Porte, IN

 

THE ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE, by Melanie Spiggle, Freshmen at LaPorte High School, LaPorte, IN (upon rendering COURAGE... AT THE WALL OF FIRE from STORMQUEST)   "Trapped in a vast mysterious expansion of ghastly shadows 
- Created by the shimmer of the moon's imperfect glow on the graceful - but somewhat treacherous water,
 You approach a towering, immobile mountain causing a deathly fog to arise over this frightful splendor,
 Dripping down from its top you hear a whisper 
A low deep voice
 Calling your name
 Daring you to unite yourself with its strength
 The mountain then seems to laugh at your naïve attempts to surpass its massiveness 
You begin to sigh when you hear it
 A voice mocking your lost triumph 
Tearing the blindfold off of your eyes you challenge the fear
 Risk the reasoning 
Climbing to the top you snatch the strength which is calling out to you
 Into your hands is placed the Courage
 That is the Courage able to defeat and weaken the obstacle that sits crumbled at your feet
 Then you call across the calm glass-like water to your master
 The key and guide of your inspiration
 Reassuring what he already knew was there
 Driven by an internal light of hope
 The endurance and will of Courageousness Dedicated: To my inspiration."

 

"Here is a message from the Netherlands! DAVID your successful piece of music, is also performed in HEERLEN (a place in the Netherlands) with the Marinierskapel (Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy) and ME as DAVID. I liked it again!!!" Sten Verpalen (DAVID)

 


"After performing your beautiful storm works piece at a band festival this year (I had the fortunate chance to play principal French horn for the "before the storm" movement!) A group of friends and I set up this web page after being totally engulfed by the thought of the "Wu Li Master".. "http://members.aol.com/FrHorn8556/WuLiMstr.html" Brought to you by the W.L.M. Anyways... we would enjoy any "real" information you could provide to us on the Master.... thank you..." Sheri Lynn -Web Master

 


"Hello Steve, I met you while I was in high school at Scottsburg, Indiana. You composed several pieces for our marching band while I attended. I played the Alto Sax in band. Anyway, as so not to waste a lot of your time, I just want to tell you of the impact you had on my life. I graduated in 97', I went on to attend school for Heating, & Air Conditioning. I now own my own little business, installing these systems, here in Scottsburg, Indiana. Band was the most important thing in my life during my high school reign. None of my friends thought band was cool, but I didn't care. Anyway Bill Henderson, our band leader, told us that our marching music was to be composed, and we would be the first to play it.

  Big deal, my high school mind thought. Then he said you were writing it, inside a book room in the high school. I thought... O.K., this guy will be a weird one. Once finished you went through the music with us, (this was the Psalm of Life) and well, it didn't impress me, I was too busy checking out girls in the band room, or watching the clock. Then we were set to go to band camp, where you would attend.  One evening we were all in concert music position in a gym, and you set out to tune us all. You started with the low brass, and about an hour and a half later you got to me. I was uncomfortable, and well, thought you were weird! I could see my band directors thought the same, they were scratching there heads and pacing. 

After we were all tuned to F concert, and even the "band geeks" were over it, we started to play. This was the first time in the history of Indiana that a marching band (and probably the last) was ever in tune! It was like the music came to life! The piece "Footprints on the Sands of Time" was the most moving for me (the ballad). Now understand that at this time my favorite things include Professional wrestling, beer, women, and being the common jerk. I had never experienced "goose bumps" before the climax of this piece!  Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that you're music touched my life. A life that now consists of crawling under houses, and driving a van, which I happen to love doing. And, I still play that tape, which was recorded in that gym. I remember your energy, and emotion, you used on the podium, and on paper. Anyway I feel like I should thank you, before you get your big break, because I feel like it is a sure thing that you will be the next big composer, and will soon be the go to guy, for all the big movies. Good luck in your future, and thank you for making a difference, in a small town high school students life that he will never forget.
Thank you for your time." Shane Yonts, Scottsburg, Indiana

 

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STEPHEN MELILLO, Composer

STORMWORKS®
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